18 March, 2009

Would You Recommend This Book?

Being a lazy-arse, copying something I posted on Facebook.

This is inspired by a list of books doing the rounds, based on the Big Read the BBC did a few years back, which shows the big difference between the books people think they SHOULD have read, and the ones they would actually enjoy.

In the world of websites, the notion that a website is doing well is often measured in recommendations - ie, if you'd recommend it to a friend, then you'd stake your reputation on it.

Therefore, this is a list of ten books I'd recommend, in no particular order. They might not all be to your tastes, but if you like the idea, why not set up your own recommendation list?

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Yeah, yeah, it's one of those ones everyone should have read, but I genuinely love it. The innocence that views the corruption in a small town and the fact that you soon forget it's a middle-aged woman telling the story. made all the more fun when you realise it's semi-autobiographical, and the annoying kid from next door is based on Harper Lee's childhood friend Truman Capote.

- The Long Firm by Jake Arnott
Gangster epic set across three decades in seedy Soho. If you're not the kind of person who'll be put off by the sordid sex scenes in the first chapter, or the graphic violence in later chapters, then you might appreciate the way Jake Arnott weaves his narratives with connected characters.

- 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A book I first read after seeing the author on Wogan in the early 1980s. It's a collection of letters between a New York writer with a love of books and a London bookshop who sells the books she wants at a reasonable price. I now have three radio adaptations, a TV version and the film version too. Love it to bits.

- Russian Roulette by James Mitchell
Hard-to-find pulp novel written by James Mitchell based on the characters he created for the TV series Callan. Callan works for a nasty branch of the security services. On the day his optometrist tells him he's going blind, Callan's boss tells him they've sold him to the Russians in exchange for another agent. They've sent three of their most deadly assassins to kill him, and he's out on his own without a gun.

- The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isobel Losada
True story of a woman who is bullied by a friend into attending a spiritual weekend, and ends up road-testing a load of alternative therapies - some good, some rotten.

- Day of the Triffids by Joh Wyndham
Obvious, but it's my favourite sci-fi novel.

- Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine
Charting the legendary rivalry between Bette Davies and Joan Crawford by a man who met them both.

- The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record by Craig Cross
Every Beatles fan MUST own this book. It's an Asperger's dream. A few clunky typos, but we can forgive that for some really useful research.

- The Days are Just Packed by Bill Watterson
Any Calvin & Hobbes compendium is worth it; this just happened to be the one with the best title.

- IT by Stephen King
Gotta have a King in there, and it's as much an odyssey as that Tolkien crap. I haven't read it all the way through in a while, but I read certain passages on Hallowe'en every year.

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